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February 13, 2012 10:16 AM   Subscribe

Grossinger's Hotel used to be one of the most popular resorts in the Catskill region of New York State. The resort served as a playing ground for the famous stars of the time like Elizabeth Taylor and Jackie Robinson. But, like most things, its popularity faded and by 1986 it closed its doors forever. It has remained abandoned ever since. (Buzzfeed, Now and Then photos)
posted by The Whelk (30 comments total) 16 users marked this as a favorite

 
"...like Elizabeth Taylor and Jackie Robinson."

It was integrated? Really?
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 10:20 AM on February 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


I love their rye bread. It makes the best tuna sammiches evar.
posted by Skygazer at 10:24 AM on February 13, 2012


More pics.
posted by swift at 10:25 AM on February 13, 2012


Oh wait I just RTFA and it's abandoned, Whatsit?!!

Who's baking the rye bread, ghosts?? Rye bread baking ghosts?!
posted by Skygazer at 10:27 AM on February 13, 2012 [3 favorites]


Surely those green bar stools and other fixtures are worth a pretty penny at some "Architectual Antiques"-esque store?
posted by lstanley at 10:29 AM on February 13, 2012


for a truly awesome in-depth look at Grossingers, the Catskills, and what was and what is:

http://www.richardgrossinger.com/2010/10/grossingers/
posted by Postroad at 10:32 AM on February 13, 2012 [3 favorites]


Take my resort, please!
posted by spicynuts at 10:34 AM on February 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


Speaking of ghost resorts of the tri-state area, I lived down the road from Pocono Gardens till I was five, then my family moved. I remembered it as a beautiful place, perhaps a little ticky-tacky, but a little kid wouldn't care about that. Imagine my horror when I Googled it a few years back. (Link dates from 2007, perhaps something has changed since then. I hope so.)
posted by Currer Belfry at 10:34 AM on February 13, 2012


sweet diving board
posted by nathancaswell at 10:37 AM on February 13, 2012


Who's baking the rye bread, ghosts?? Rye bread baking ghosts?!

A haunting like that, I could live with. (As long as the brought the pastrami butcher ghost with them)
posted by jonmc at 10:37 AM on February 13, 2012


My parents took me to Grossinger's just after Passover in 1985 (As we pulled up, there was a long train of school buses filled with orthodox jews leaving to head back to NYC.)

We all felt THEN that it was just like the Overlook (at 13 years old, I had already seen 'The Shining', and profoundly affected by it). I ran through the halls, got completely lost between pools and tennis courts, and surprisingly had no nightmares the entire stay.

That's where I was introduced to U-bet chocolate syrup, because I couldn't stop raving about the best chocolate milk I'd ever tasted, the kitchen was slow enough for the (a?) chef to come out with a bottle I could take home (they had plenty leftover).

There was maybe 100 guests there at the same time as us.
We all congregated near one end of this gigantic dining room.

The live comic whose name I forget did his performance in a huge hallway nearby, in front of a bunch of publicity photos of all the famous Vaudeville performers who'd made their chops there back in the day. My parents kept talking with him long after the 'show' (they knew his work) and I learned a lot about the Borscht Belt.

The aerial pictures make it look smaller than I remember, but I am very happy to have seen it before it closed. More than once I mentioned to my brother that we should head back to see what it is like now.

Thanks for this!
posted by Busithoth at 10:38 AM on February 13, 2012 [16 favorites]


I would buy enough loaves of rye bread that marketed themselves as "baked by Elizabeth Taylor's ghost" to make the whole enterprise, if not profitable, certainly worthwhile.

I love before and after decay photos like this, even if they do make me a little sad, and I encourage all of the FPPs of this kind.

Whenever I watch Dirty Dancing, which, somehow given my family and the few places where all of our interests intersect, is definitely a non-zero number when we are together for any amount of time, I long for a modern day version of the Catskills, so even the before photos are awesome to me. So obviously I was excited to check out this:

Postroad: "for a truly awesome in-depth look at Grossingers, the Catskills, and what was and what is:

http://www.richardgrossinger.com/2010/10/grossingers/
"


Unfortunately, it was blocked at work for reason: Your request was denied because of its content categorization: "Alternative Spirituality/Belief". That's a new one.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 10:40 AM on February 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


postroad, Growing Up at Grossingers was a great read on this.
posted by dr_dank at 10:41 AM on February 13, 2012


I stayed at Grosinger’s in the early 80s for about a week. I was there with the college group that evaluated and booked the campus entertainment for the following year. We saw all sort of acts and spent quite a bit of money. And to boot, at that time the drinking age had not gone up to 21 nationwide, so the booze was flowing everywhere. It was an undergrad party dream.

The place is abolutley huge. Just getting from my room to any of the meeting rooms took forever. One thing that I will never forget was being shown an enormous kitchen, only to be shown a second one that was even bigger – it was the kosher kitchen. I must confess, being raised Catholic, I really did not entirely know what to make of it at the time.

But the highlight of the week was a screening of Polyester complete with the scratch and sniff cards. I personally lobbied for that to be booked for the following year. It was such a weird screening in the middle of that big ole resort. Especially the fart scene.

I really wish I had kept that Odorama card as a memento.
posted by lampshade at 10:42 AM on February 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


Your request was denied... Alternative Spirituality/Belief

I'm not in favor of censorship generally but I can get behind this one...
posted by nathancaswell at 10:42 AM on February 13, 2012


Your request was denied because of its content categorization: "Alternative Spirituality/Belief

? I am intrigued. To which faith does your computer adhere?
posted by Think_Long at 10:45 AM on February 13, 2012 [4 favorites]


But the highlight of the week was a screening of Polyester complete with the scratch and sniff cards.

Polyester? At Grossingers? I have to think that would tickle John immensely.
posted by Thorzdad at 10:56 AM on February 13, 2012


Stayed there and ate some scumptious food in the 60s. A group from high school, we tried to see how many roast ducks we could polish off in a single sitting. I still can see the pile of duck carcasses in the center of the table.
posted by ahimsakid at 10:56 AM on February 13, 2012 [3 favorites]


More amazing photos of Grossinger's and other Borscht Belt hotels can be found here.

I have recently been at events at Kutsher's, another (less-storied) Catskill's resort, and it's amazing - everything that's been "kept up" still screams of the long-gone era in which it was in style, but there are whole blocked off sections that are every bit as racoon-eaten and scary as those images. Nothing made me long for a time machine more. Amazing how something could be so glamorous and so decrepit at the same time. Like visiting Grey Gardens.
posted by Mchelly at 10:57 AM on February 13, 2012


Why is my first thought, when I see these ruins stories (as amazing as the images are), "why the fuck wasn't someone held responsible for cleaning this stuff up, not just leaving it to rot and mold?" Given the era of its construction, I'd also bet it's full of asbestos. Feel the same way about abandoned factories, what gives? Shouldn't cleaning up the site be part of the bankruptcy process?
posted by spitbull at 11:07 AM on February 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


Polyester? At Grossingers?

It is one of those weird moments in my life that seems more bizarre as time passes. Seeing the photos in the links just reinforces it. (Yeah, JW probably would crack a smile at the thought.)

I was hoping that there would be a shot of the Cloud Suites there. These particular rooms were basically a bedroom suite for guests, but were very large and always seemed host the craziest parties for attendees.
posted by lampshade at 11:17 AM on February 13, 2012


man, i wish i had a teal-everything bathroom
posted by mlo at 11:45 AM on February 13, 2012


Having grown up with the Borscht Belt in my backyard (but about 20 years too late), I have a strange nostalgia for these places.

I would often see the old roadside motels, the signs for the attractions and wonder how it would have been (if you were of a certain class and income bracket, I guess).
posted by madajb at 11:49 AM on February 13, 2012


Oh, neat. My mom waitressed at Grossinger's in the 60s on the weekends while she was in college.

It was integrated? Really?

Weren't things different in the north in general? At any rate, my mom told me that one weekend she was the waitress for a black family. She expressed surprise and dismay when they declined watermelon for dessert. She only realized later why they were upset about that--she wasn't familiar with the racial stereotype, the watermelon was just particularly good that weekend.

So, yeah, apparently it was integrated.
posted by needs more cowbell at 11:54 AM on February 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


My wife's family has a yearly reunion in/around the Catskills, and it's always sobering to drive around these old, decrepit resorts and see them as they are now, while being able to easily imagine them as they were.

At the same time...we stayed at a few of these "resorts" just before they finally went tits up, and man, that was even more depressing. The mold! The aging plumbing! The threadbare carpets and haphazard room repairs! They didn't go to hell overnight, they took their time, until the years of deferred maintenance finally made them so unattractive that no one would stay there, and their eventual demise became a self-fulfilling prophesy.

It's easy to be nostalgic, as some of these resorts were magnificent in their day, but they also became leviathans that were too big and too sprawling to maintain.

I always thought of them as land-locked cruise ships, and you can still see their rusting hulks scattered throughout the region.
posted by mosk at 12:53 PM on February 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


OK, whoa. My family went for years to the Italian counterpart in Cairo, Mike Garzilli's Pine Springs. We had culinary minglings with Grossinger's, and if I am remembering correctly, a kid's "beauty pagent" 'round their pool. And yes, I was forced, much to my eternal embarrassment, to participate by my sainted mama. I've got the trophy to prove it! Thanks for this post, I haven't thought about this in forever.
posted by thinkpiece at 1:50 PM on February 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


Many celebs got their start in the borscht belt. Bu the advent of planes, highways, etc there was no longer the need to leave The City and to go there when could fly just about anywhere for R and R and R and a family vacation..
posted by Postroad at 3:01 PM on February 13, 2012


> "Alternative Spirituality/Belief"

His home page has links at the top of the sidebar about a book he wrote on Buddhism and Theosophy. I was expecting Satanism or at least Thelema. You have one uptight web nanny if it censors Buddhism and Theosophy.

Does it let you link to reddit/jailbait?
posted by bukvich at 3:11 PM on February 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


Why is my first thought, when I see these ruins stories (as amazing as the images are), "why the fuck wasn't someone held responsible for cleaning this stuff up, not just leaving it to rot and mold?"

My first thought was, there's some cool stuff in there. I could use those bowls! What a horrible waste. : /
posted by Glinn at 3:58 PM on February 13, 2012


In case anyone was curious, Miranda July's family ran this hotel.
posted by pxe2000 at 4:38 PM on February 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


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